LoBiondo Votes to Override Presidential Veto to Approve Numerous Provisions within Water Resources Legislation for South Jersey Coastal Communities & Waterways
Congressman Protects $136 Million Authorization for Construction of Sea Isle City Beach Replenishment Project
Committed to protecting critical South Jersey water projects previously approved by the Congress, U.S. Congressman Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02) today voted to override the Presidential veto of the 2007 "Water Resources Development Act." Included within the bill is a $136 million authorization for the construction of the Sea Isle City beach replenishment project and explicit approval for the Army Corps of Engineers to remove debris from the Delaware River. The House successfully voted to override the veto 361 to 54.
"This bill includes several provisions that are critical for South Jersey, especially the residents of Sea Isle City whose property and businesses are threatened daily by beach erosion. It was never a question to me to vote to override the President on this important bill - the serious concerns of my district and my constituents always come first," said LoBiondo, a member of the House Water Resources & Environment Subcommittee. "I will continue to fight for South Jersey's fair share, and to ensure our waterways and coastal communities are protected."
This bill funds the following projects championed by LoBiondo:
· A $136 million authorization for construction of the Sea Isle City and portions of Strathmere beach replenishment project and periodic renourishment over 50 years (Note: A Congressional authorization is required prior to the appropriation of federal funds for the project - federal funds were not and have not been appropriated for this project at this time);
· Explicit authorization for the Army Corps to remove debris from the Delaware River that would be hazards to navigation. This provision came about as a result of the Athos I oil spill which was caused by a discarded anchor that ripped a hole in the haul of the ship;
· Authorization to incorporate the Cape May Point National Shoreline Erosion Control Demonstration Project at the boroughs six beach cells into the Lower Cape May Meadows Project. This would enable the Army Corps to replenish the beach cells when the Meadows Project receives periodic renourishment;
· Explicit authorization for the Army Corps to conduct the oyster revitalization project in the Delaware Bay. This is continuation of a project already underway in conjunction with Rutgers University;
· A provision originally included in LoBiondo's "Community Beaches Protection Act" (HR 1504) to reauthorize and expand the National Shoreline Erosion Control Development and Demonstration Program. The provision will extend the program's life, allow cost sharing with local communities, permit the removal of projects that do not perform and increase the federal funding for the Program to $30 million annually. Cape May Point is the site of the nation's first project under the Shoreline Erosion Program where they are testing artificial reefs for erosion control;
· A provision originally included in LoBiondo's "Community Beaches Protection Act" (HR 1504) which strengthens current federal policy for beach restoration and clarifies that periodic renourishment is a federal priority; and,
· A provision originally included in LoBiondo's "Community Beaches Protection Act" (HR 1504) to prohibit the Army Corps from forcing states and municipalities from paying more than the Congressional-authorized share. In 2001, LoBiondo led the effort to defeat an amendment to an annual appropriations bill that would have flipped the current cost-share formula, forcing state and local communities to pay 65 percent of the project costs. The current formula requires states/localities to pay 35 percent of the costs while the federal government covers the remaining 65 percent.
The bill now moves on to the Senate for their consideration of overriding the veto.